Thomas Jones

1756-1820. Welsh Calvinistic Methodist* theologian. He was born at Penucha, Flintshire, of a fairly well-to-do family. His only education was at schools in Caerwys and Holywell, but it gave him excellent grounding in the classics. He began to preach among the Calvinistic Methodists in 1783 and ministered to their societies at Mold, Ruthin, and finally Denbigh (1806-20). He was closely associated with Thomas Charles after whose death in 1814 Jones was the most learned and distinguished leader of the Calvinistic Methodists.

Jones was a man of wide culture. His massive volume Hanes Diwygwyr, Merthyron, a Chyffeswyr Eglwys Loegr (1813) is at the same time a plea for toleration in matters of religion and a sustained defense of the thesis that Evangelicalism is a continuation of the Augustinian understanding of Christianity which is the true catholicism. Jones's autobiography is a moving document describing his spiritual pilgrimage. In the theological controversies that dominated Welsh intellectual life at the beginning of the nineteenth century he took a firm but moderate Calvinist position. He was firmly opposed to Arminianism on the one hand, and although he was critical of hyper-Calvinism he was not able to embrace fully the “Modern Calvinism” of his friend, Edward Williams of Rotherham. He was also well versed in the Welsh literary tradition. His prose style is forceful and elegant, and as a poet and hymnwriter he combined the classical heritage of the strict meters with the newer use of free meters in the tradition of Williams Pantycelyn. The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists had no wiser or more scholarly and godly leader at the beginning of the last century than Thomas Jones.